Coast Guard 17th District schedules change of command in Juneau, Alaska

Coast Guard Alaska News
JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard 17th District change of command is scheduled for June 12, 2014, at the Coast Guard station in Juneau.

Rear Adm. Thomas P. Ostebo, commander, 17th District, will transfer total responsibility, authority and accountability to Rear Adm. Daniel B. Abel, commander, 1st District, during this time honored military tradition that formally restates the officer’s continuity and authority of command.

“I look forward to serving in Alaska and continuing my predecessor’s efforts to safeguard the maritime community and protect the pristine Alaska environment,” said Abel. “My commander’s intent includes leading a crew of professionals, fostering a creative and supportive team, and building and strengthening our trusted partnerships.”

Ostebo, who has commanded the 17th District since May 2011, received a Presidential nomination for promotion to vice admiral, and is under consideration for the position of Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Mission Support in Washington, D.C.

Mission highlights during Ostebo’s tenure include:

• Leading 2,500 active duty, reserve, civilian, and auxiliary personnel.

• Managing operations in Alaska encompassing 3,853,500 square miles and more than 44,000 miles of coastline.
– From May 2011 to April 9, 2014 Coast Guard crews conducted 1,692 search and rescue cases, saved 519 lives and assisted 2,202 lives.

• Launching Arctic Shield, the Coast Guard’s seasonal Arctic operation, to ensure safe, secure, and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the region.
– Provided key input to the United States Coast Guard’s Arctic Strategy derived from work with stakeholders and partners in drafting Alaska’s Northern Waters Task Force study.
– Instrumental in offering recommendations to the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission on maritime safety and security in the Arctic.
– Built partnerships between the Coast Guard, federally recognized tribes, and native corporations throughout Alaska to foster sharing of traditional knowledge and best practices.
– Leveraged federal, state and local partnerships and resources to address increased maritime traffic associated with economic development in the forms of resource extraction, trans-Arctic shipping, and adventure tourism.
– Collaborated with United States Northern Command and Alaskan Command on defense support for civil authorities and homeland security emergency management and preparedness exercises.
– Advocated for a voluntary vessel routing scheme to address increasing maritime traffic in the Bering Strait and Unimak Pass. Worked with key stakeholders to identify and develop recommendations for the International Maritime Organization’s development of a Polar Code.

• Directing the Coast Guard Cutter Healy icebreaker operation to escort a tanker containing 1.5 million gallons of much needed fuel to Nome.
-This operation highlighted the value of Coast Guard icebreaking capabilities in the Arctic and reinforced the need for the Nation to have the right mix of operational assets to address all threats and hazards in the Arctic.

• Reinforcing the Nation’s need for Arctic drilling safety he oversaw the response to the grounding of the mobile offshore drilling unit Kulluk, and initiated a formal marine casualty investigation to determine causes to mitigate and prevent future accidents.

• Protecting the Nation’s marine resources by increasing awareness of and prosecuting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing with national and international partners.
– Bangun Perkaska and Da Cheng were two successful seizures that highlighted the Coast Guard’s efforts in protecting the global food chain.

• Supporting marine environmental protection initiatives through a Spill of National Significance seminar, the Aleutian Island Risk Assessment, Canadian and U.S. exercises, and providing representation and support to the Arctic Council.

• Joining forces with federal, state, and local communities to improve natural disaster preparedness, including strong Coast Guard participation in the national capstone exercise commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Alaska earthquake.

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Alaska,” said Ostebo. “I am humbled to be nominated and if confirmed as vice admiral, I will endeavor to carry out my new duties in continued support of the Nation, the Coast Guard and Alaska.”

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